CYPRUS has scored a mere 11 points in an EU Commission report on the waste management performance of member states.
The report shows major differences between member states on the implementation of EU waste legislation, concentrating mainly on municipal waste.
According to the report Cyprus scored zero on the majority of criteria such as the amount of municipal waste recovered, the existence of a pay-as-you-throw system (PAYT) for municipal waste, the compliance of existing landfills for non-hazardous waste and the existence of restrictions for the disposal of municipal waste into landfills.
Other countries that scored very few points were Romania with the same score as Cyprus, Latvia with 14 points and Italy with 15. However managing to accumulate even less points was Greece with three points, Bulgaria had eight points and Lithuania and Malta nine.
Scoring the most points were countries such as Austria and the Netherlands with 39 points.
Cyprus is one of the member states, according to the report, which shows the highest landfill rates within the EU27 along with Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Romania. Currently the main environmental threat from biodegradable waste is the production of methane from waste decomposing in landfills, which accounted for some three per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-15 in 1995. The Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) obliges member states to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste that they landfill to 35 per cent of 1995 levels by 2016 which will significantly reduce this problem.
The report also pointed out that out of the 104 landfills around the island for non-hazardous waste, apparently only one complies with the EU directive for landfills, which aims at reducing the negative effects on the environment.
In terms of implementing certain legislation the report shows that there are major discrepancies in the implementation and application of the Waste Framework Directive (WFD), which ‘defines the basic principles of environmentally sound management of waste.’
The island, among other countries such as Bulgaria and Greece also does not have a Waste Prevention Programme or a Waste Management Programme.
However, Cyprus has had no infringement procedures against it for the WFD and the Landfill Directive.
On a positive note, the report revealed that Cyprus received an average or good scoring on average recycling rate, a considerable increase of recycling of municipal waste and had no infringements or court cases issued against it.
According to Environment Commissioner Charalambous Theopemptou, there is an EU Directive that points us towards the collection of organic waste and composting as well as recommending the separate collection of plastic, metal, wood and clothes. “For example if someone has a plastic bucket it cannot be taken and recycled by Green Dot because they only take packaging items so there has to be a way to recycle it,” said Theopemptou.
“Even the recycling of clothes is done privately,” he said.
He also stressed how tragic the waste of wood was, especially in the case of wooden palettes that could easily be used as fire wood.